President Donald Trump told reporters at his golf club in New Jersey Thursday afternoon he intends to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency.
Thursday evening, a White House statement said the president “has instructed his administration to use all appropriate emergency and other authorities to respond to the crisis caused by the opioid epidemic.”
“The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially right now it is an emergency,” Trump told reporters earlier in the day. “It’s a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.”
When asked if he needed to apply emergency powers, the president added:
“We’re going to draw it up and we’re going to make it a national emergency. It is a serious problem the likes of which we have never had. You know when I was growing up they had the LSD and they had certain generations of drugs. There’s never been anything like what’s happened to this country over the last four or five years. And I have to say this in all fairness, this is a worldwide problem, not just a United States problem. This is happening worldwide. But this is a national emergency and we are drawing documents now to so attest.”
The statements come after the White House’s commission to combat drug addiction, headed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, released an interim report on its findings and recommendations last week. The panel recommended declaring a national emergency in response to the national opioid epidemic.
While it appears that the president will declare a national emergency, it’s unclear whether the White House will also implement the rest of the recommendations.